Stories tagged with All

Apr 4, 2009 KE Kenya

I am living in Kisumu, Kenya. Here is a picture of the street where I volunteer, in the Nyalenda slum.

Walking around the slum, one quickly comes across evidence of the post election violence.  Burned buildings are common.  As are random herds of goats.

White people in Kisumu are usually in self-contained SUVs.  Not too many ever enter the Nyalenda slum.  As a result, as I walk, I am usually chased by children.

If I stay in one place for too long, they gather to stare.

In the slum, you find many teenage girls.  Their stories show...

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Apr 4, 2009 LB Lebanon

The other day, I walked around Saida‘s old town in southern Lebanon and just soaked in the mood of the place. The old town is far removed from the modern part of the city where cars dominate. Here, people go about their business in the narrow streets and interact in a far more intimate space. Tourists are just beginning to discover the place, though they rarely go much deeper than the soap museum on its outskirts.

A number of NGOs have been involved in this part of town for years, where the level of poverty tends to be quite a bit higher than the national level. Also, the...

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Apr 4, 2009

I have always wanted to write something about our transport system and the huddles involved for one to get to work early and let it be printed in the papers but again part of my mind said why not for us here! Eeh before I forget, taxi are the matatus we use here in Uganda, while ‘Maaso awo’ means find the next stage for me to get off.

As a Kiva Coordinator, Pearl Microfinance, the work I do involves a lot of movements with so many hardships, but if all this is to be added on to the messy taxis, traffic jams and the rude taxi operators especially the conductors, then my day will be...

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Apr 4, 2009

The other day in the Mission district at Kiva headquarters in San Francisco, I converged with three micro enterprises, on just one corner. A young man selling fresh oranges, a Popsicle and ice-cream cart vendor, and another man with a tall stick of cotton candy- $2 each. Although this coincidence is quite novel, it does explain another, larger phenomenon. Perhaps the true impact of small businesses in the U.S. is underestimated. AEO, the association for Enterprise Opportunity, says that 87% of all businesses in the U.S. are microenterprises, businesses with fewer then 5 employees.
As...

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Apr 4, 2009 NI Nicaragua

I recently picked up The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Director for the Study of African Economics at Oxford University and former director of Development Research at the World Bank. It has been a grim and simultaneously enlightening book, dubbed as a must-read by the New York Times and set to become a classic according to the Economist.

In a nutshell, The Bottom Billion states that our perception of development for the last forty years has...

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Apr 4, 2009 ID Indonesia

West Timor is the country equivalent of Robert Downey Senior. The usual reaction is “West Timor? I didn’t know there was a West Timor. But I’ve heard of East Timor so I suppose it makes sense”.

And indeed it does make sense, especially if you live here. West Timor, formerly a Dutch colony until it was un-clogged in 1945, is on an island towards the eastern side of Indonesia (Timur conveniently means “east” in Indonesian) but, it should be stressed, not the most easterly island as that is Papua and or West Papua (to clarify please see www.google....

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Apr 4, 2009

It’s taken me some time to “get my feet on the ground” microfinance wise. So many distractions upon arriving in a new country, community, culture, family–not to mention learning my way around ASDIR, Kiva’s partner bank.  After almost 6 weeks here, this is my first post that focuses on microcredit.

I have visited almost 50 Kiva borrowers since arriving here, but these two stand out for me as exemplifying the role that “having access to credit”  can play in the lives of the hardworking and resourceful poor.

The first, is an interview...

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Mar 3, 2009
The first quarter of 2009 has seen many amazing stories from Kiva Fellows in the field. Let’s take a look back at some of the remarkable blog posts you may have missed! Top 5 most viewed blog entries:

With almost 6000 views, Kieran Ball takes the internet community by storm with his post featuring a phenomenal video tracking a loan from London to Cambodia. You can also view the translated Spanish and French versions of the video here: Un Punado de Dolares/ Une Poignee de Dollars.

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Mar 3, 2009 SN Senegal

Imagine that you’re a young West African woman.  You live in a small village, and you had to quit school at a young age to help your parents take care of your brothers and sisters, so employment prospects are slim.

Your grandmother approaches you with a job offer.  She tells you that, with the career that she has in mind, you could make up to $200 a day, along with gifts of palm oil, yams, and chickens.  You would be carrying on a family tradition, a religious tradition, and a cultural tradition, and the people in your town would respect you and your work.

Sounds good,...

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Mar 3, 2009

After about 6 weeks being out in the field and working with my MFI, I sent the following email to the 7th class kiva fellows:

I have a burning question I’d like to ask all of you: now that you’ve been working with your respective mfi’s for some time now, what do you think about microfinance (in general)? Any good surprises? Any bad surprises?

What followed was a long, fascinating discussion that we thought would be a good idea to publish here. I’ve posted the replies as comments to this post. Hope you enjoy!

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